An open letter to Shahid Afridi
We have witnessed you brutally thrash bowlers out of the park; we have seen you dismiss the best in business with your shooters, flippers and googlies and take the most difficult catches on the cricket field.
You have been our darling for more than 14 years. Every time you whack the cricket ball into the open skies, we hold our breaths. You gave us reason to dance on the streets of Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta with your performance in the Twenty20 Cup, 2009. And you made us proud as you went on to score the fastest one day century in your second ODI match.
As the World Cup 2011 officially opens, we have our eyes set on you once again.
Skipper, we want this cup - not just because we are a cricket-mad nation. We, the Pakistan cricket fans, want it because for years, we have been disregarded, ignored and overlooked.
We were stripped of our right to host this World Cup. Our players weren’t allowed to appear in the lucrative Indian Premier League and our domestic structure failed to impress us with something near to its caliber. And then, all-too-familiar controversies continued to rock our cricketing world.
Bringing this cup home would do a great deal for the survival of the game of cricket in this region. You started playing cricket after gaining inspiration from the Imran Khan-led team in 1992; this cup will inspire younger generations and give birth to future-legends. Who could know this better than you?
We know winning the final is not in your hands alone. Therefore, we don't demand your team win; rather that you give 100 per cent on the field. We have faith in your abilities and know that you can beat any team when you unleash your talent.
Given the turmoil that Pakistan cricket has gone through recently, even playing the final in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium would be considered an achievement. But bringing the cup home would silence those who for a long time have continued to undermine Pakistan's cricket.
We pledge unconditional support to your team for the next 45 days; we pledge that if you win, we will celebrate.
We wish to see our flag hoisted with pride and to witness our national anthem being sung in the final on April 2, 2011. May our wishes come true, and may your squad of 15 players bring glory to the nation by winning this World Cup.
A Pakistan cricket fan
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